“I am concerned”- Simmons says of Hope

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By Akeem Greene

West Indies batsman Shai Hope is without question one of the region’s most talented batsmen. He has produced some of the most aesthetically pleasing batting one could see at the international level.

But the shots and the ability to play them are not the issue; rather, it is the lack of production from this undeniable talent, and surprisingly so in Test cricket.

After 33 Tests, he averages 26.35 with just two centuries, both of which came in that historic win over England at Headingley in 2017. Since that tremendous achievement though, Hope has endured a lean patch in red-ball cricket.

His best score since is 90* against Zimbabwe the same year. Since January 2019, his best score in 11 innings is 57.

There is in stark contrast to his white-ball form. During that same period, his ODI average has soared to 52.20 and he has accumulated nine centuries.

During the 2019/20 season, he played 12 ODIs and averaged 81.44.  It is that prolific record that has influenced his presence in the Test team, but his place is now under threat after a series of low scores.

In the ongoing series, he averages 14.25 – the lowest by a West Indies top-order batsman- and Head Coach Phil Simmons says he is concerned about Hope’s lack of form.

“Yes I am concerned,” the coach expressed at Monday’s Virtual post-match brief.

“It is gone four innings without a score which is in contrast to how he has played in the last sixth months in the other formats. I am concerned about his form and we will be sitting and having a chat over the next couple of days.”

Simmons was also questioned on John Campbell’s lifeline as an opener since he has now gone eight Tests with just one half-century after a promising start to his career in 2019. He averages 17.33 on this tour.

“Something we have to discuss over the next couple of days and make a decision as to which direction we go…they haven’t fired and we got to take that into consideration over the next couple of days.”

The coach said they will consider options from the reserve list, which means left-handed opener Shayne Mosely, who got 40 and 83* in the first practice match could be contention to partner Kraigg Brathwaite.

Joshua Da Silva, who made 133* and 56* in the second practice match, fellow reserve Sunil Ambris and Nkrumah Bonner, who is in the Test squad, are possible replacements should Hope be dropped.

The third and final Tests starts on Friday at Old Trafford, with the series level 1-1.

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